Sunday, 11 February 2018

The Cipher Room - The Cabin (from a game master's perspective)

Hi everyone

The "lite" 3 person version of my team checked out The Cabin back in early January 2017 at The Cipher Room in Newtown.  I absolutely loved the room - it was so well themed and the puzzles were really varied and interesting.  It was an artwork.  You can read my review of The Cabin here.  

Almost exactly a year later, my wife (who couldn't come the first time around) came back to check out The Cabin for herself with friends.  I had told her that I thought The Cabin was the most immersive room in Sydney so she REALLY wanted to see it for herself.

Marise, one of the owners of The Cabin, was kind enough to let me come back and watch my wife's team from the game master's perspective.  Actually, my friend Nic (one of my escape room team members) and I both were able to check out how they went.  

We had Shahmen and Marise as our game masters, who showed us how The Cipher Room's game masters roll...

We were given an iPad and given that there were no other teams at the time waiting in reception, we sat in reception during The Cabin experience.  The Cipher Room use a voice of God system so that if players need help, they simply need to speak and then game masters can respond.  Alternatively, game masters can jump in if they feel that teams need help.

One of the trickiest aspects of being a game master I think is in how and when to give clues.  Some players are very stubborn about not wanting to receive any clues, whereas others are happy to be fed clues the whole way.  The Cipher Room accommodates this really well by firstly getting a feel from players upfront as to whether they want clues, and then secondly if a clue is needed, the game master will ask players if they would like a hint.  This therefore enables players to make a decision about receiving a clue, rather than simply being given one whether they like it or not.

I have sat in the seat of a game master a few times now. It's a really different experience to that of a player.  It has also been a year since I played The Cabin myself, but I was surprised at how many puzzles I remembered (as well as almost all of the room flow).  

The AV system used on the iPad was really cool.  It had 4 high definition video feeds that we could zoom in on and hear the audio of each space.  This allowed us to track players easily and to listen to their reasoning with various puzzles.  We found ourselves cheering at some points and at other times, I was trying to get into the players' minds and guess which puzzles they would breeze through or get stuck on.

I absolutely loved The Cabin when I tried it.  One of the nicest aspects of watching my wife's team do this room was that I got to enjoy The Cabin a second time, albeit in a slightly different way.  When my wife's team escaped, Marise kindly allowed us to be on the other side of the exit door to congratulate the team on their escape.  I then took the opportunity to walk back through the room and once again marvel at the quality of theming and workmanship.  I also got to listen to Marise walk through each of the puzzles, easter eggs, etc.  

I really enjoyed this experience from the other side watching a team escape from The Cabin, which is still one of the very best rooms in the country.  

And for the record, my wife was very pleased that she finally checked out The Cabin.  She agreed that it was the best themed room she had done in Australia (and she has done about 60 rooms at that point).  

Spoiler alert - about 30 minutes later we checked out The Marlowe Hotel at The Cipher Room, this time with all 4 of our usual team members.  I didn't think we would find a room better than The Cabin in Sydney but I was proven wrong.  

We now have a new favourite :-)  Review to follow shortly.

Where:                        640 King Street, Newtown

Duration:                    60 minutes

Themes:                     3 so far

Cost:                           $156 for 4 adults (but my wife's team played at the kind invitation of the owners)

Overall Summary:      A year later, this room is still "wow".  

More details:    

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